It has been eight months since I graduated my four year bachelors degree program at Lebanon Valley College. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to secure a job related to my degree in audio engineering (well, to be specific, “Music Recording Technology”). Many other graduates from the same program at my school were not so lucky to secure a job related to their major; in fact, I think I’d be oversimplifying if I limited it only to my major. There are a number of graduates not doing anything related to what they studied. I am no expert, but I think we can chalk this up to a saturation in the job market (you could continue to argue this is due to the longer lifespans of the past few generations and how many people work well past the suggested retirement age of 65, but again, I’m not an expert).
So what is the point of this mild rant? My point is that since graduation, despite my luck in securing a job related to my field of interest, my generation must focus more and more on not specializing, but well rounding. The age of “doing what you love better than the next guy” is over. In my opinion, we need to do two or three things we enjoy well. Is this a bad thing? No. But it does take more effort on our part.
A lot of my peers in the Music Recording Technology program were budding musicians looking to get an education in the recording arts so they could record and produce themselves. In the age where Youtube can be the spark for a music career (see: Justin Beiber, PSY), it’s not a bad plan, although perhaps a bit pricey in comparison to other options. But the program is right on track for what needs to be emphasized in education more: you aren’t in college to learn one thing. Your major is comparable to a highway: There are a lot of highways in any given country, and each highway goes somewhere different. Some take different routes to the same city, but each is a different journey. And each has any number of exits you can take. A lot of people will take the same route to get to the same destination, but there are any number of alternate side routes you can take as well.
I guess my motivation in writing this post is that I often feel the need to explain my “side projects”. Web design (which, admittedly, I haven’t touched in a while, but I am currently revisiting), audio, music, photography. I shouldn’t need to explain to anyone the importance of being well rounded, and neither should you. I don’t expect to take the kind of photography that will land me a National Geographic gig; but you can expect me to know how to use my equipment effectively enough to bring in some paid work. I will never have the kind of voice that Justin Beiber has, but my music can be equally appealing to a different audience.
We should embrace living a well rounded lifestyle. Just recently I started going to the gym with my girlfriend. It should also be noted that the only times I’ve been to a gym were in public school and my freshman year of college. I don’t go because I enjoy it. I go because it’s good for me. And honestly, it has been growing on me. I am starting to gain a better respect for staying in shape, and ultimately, it will only benefit me. The same can be said for any interest I might have, or any other person might have. If you want to write a book in your free time, do you really need to prove it to anyone?